GM’s Blog – Union Dues (like) Game – Session 2
The blog for session 1 is here.
As you may recall, last week’s session ended neatly with the group heading off for some rest and relaxation following a job well done. We ramped gently up into this week’s session with a bit of a recap on what they were doing during a week’s rest period and then I threw them into an ongoing disaster.
Downtown Washington DC: The Excelsior Building, 14:07
After explosions ripped through the ground, fifth, and 20th floor of this 20-storey building many survivors were trapped inside with the smoke, flames and twisted metal. With no way to reach them from the ground or the roof, the normal emergency services could do little to save them as heat from the building was too intense to bring in ladder trucks. The team was called in to help by the Union with lives literally hanging in the balance.
I started once again with finding out how the characters made their entrance:
- Blue Sun flew down out of the sun in the shape of a giant space alien, shrinking as he came.
- Jed and Harvey took the bus but got stuck in traffic due to the massive chaos caused by the ongoing disaster so their boss Stronghammer sent Warp to pick him up and take him straight to the destination with one of his wormholes.
- Flashbang: The Human Stun Grenade bounded in across the city’s rooftops using his infrasound jumping power to leap forcefully from building to building.
- Black Amaranth clawed his way out of Hell at the disaster site, presumably having died off screen during the group’s trip to Vegas.
- The Purist, white-skinned alien who’s better than you, also jumped and glided from rooftop to rooftop using his super-agility and air-manipulation powers.
A brief aside on The Purist – This was once the blue-skinned alien dimension-hopper. He chose to change his colour because the Blue Sun already had a lock on the colour blue, so he chose to be pure white. This combined with his ‘better than human’ super-competency led to a few jokes around the idea that perhaps he should be called The White Supremacist, with a white costume and a pointed hood. I have a classy group.
The group started by issuing a press release (always their top priority, it seems) before briefly conferring with the emergency services. They estimated that the building’s warped frame was likely to collapse in no more than 20 minutes due to the intensity of the heat and the spread of the fires across multiple floors at the same time. Flashbang took control as the group’s tactician and began to formulate a plan of rescue that involved the talents of each member of the team.
He started by using photokinesis to erect a curtain of darkness around the building, open at the top to allow sunlight inside but blocking the ongoing tragedy from view. He also used his acoustokinesis to selectively attenuate the sound of the fire, ensuring that instructions shouted by the team would be heard by victims inside the building. Inside all became eerily quiet except for the ticks and groaning of warping metal, the hiss of melting plastic and the sounds of panicked screaming.
Next Blue Sun used his energy object manipulation powers to construct a reinforcing framework around the building, vast blue columns rising from the ground to hold the building together and buy the team extra time to rescue the survivors.
Warp opened a portal to the 11th floor where survivors were gathered by the windows and began to evacuate them safely to the ground while also landing firefighters inside so they could start to bring the worst of the blaze under control.
The Purist ran inside to search the building and look for another bomb before the rest of the group went inside. As he went he drained the air from around him so that the fires doused, protecting him. The vacuum also gave him protection from radiant heat.
The Purist failed his roll and chose to succeed at a cost. The cost was that his vacuum pulled fresh air past the fire in his wake, leaving a massive trail of hot fire burning in his direct path back. As he searched I debated whether or not the terrorists might have left another bomb to attack anyone trying to rescue the survivors, and then realised that this would be a good Compel on the “Carefully planned terror attack” aspect on the scene. I offered a Fate point to The Purist’s player on the basis that it’s logical that they would have left another bomb – and he’d just found it. He accepted with gusto.
The Purist came upon not a bomb but a strange sight – a man in a full fire resistant suit with breathing apparatus. He was glowing. Assuming he was a firefighter The Purist went over to him to ask what had happened here. The man in the suit simply said “Insha’Allah!” and exploded in a devastating blast of energy that swept rapidly outwards. Fortunately The Purist can hop rapidly to other dimensions to avoid attacks occurring in this one and managed to do so just in the nick of time. On returning he was caught by the expanding blast wave however and was sent smashing out through the side of the building to the ground below.
This was another success at a cost on the Notice roll needed to successfully avoid the damage by dimension hopping. With hindsight I should probably have applied a consequence like Road Rash but at the time I figured the complication of getting blasted out of the building was suitable enough.
Meanwhile Jed made his way into the building with Harvey, the shadow’s cloak of darkness protecting him from the fire and flames. He demanded that Harvey spread out to use his super-perception to find survivors and the shadow almost refused (wishing to protect Jed against all else), but was eventually persuaded. Having found survivors the pair used Harvey’s super-strength to claw through obstructing rubble and girders and reach the victims before hauling them out of the building.
Black Amaranth summoned a fire-eating demon to go in and snuff the fire by devouring it. A massive lava-mawed thing erupted from the ground (fortunately inside the blackout curtain) and then walked inside the building, making a terrible reverse-screaming sound and sucking flames into its mouth with every breath.
Working as a team the group quickly managed to find and rescue the survivors. With Blue Sun’s reinforcing structure the firefighters were even able to go inside and safely remove the corpses for identification and return to their families.
Once the demon’s work was done Black Amaranth banished it back to hell despite its protests. It told Amaranth that it was looking forward to seeing him again with much interest but ultimately did go. Before helping the building to collapse safely Blue Sun extracted the security room from the basement of the building and teleported it with Warp’s help to The Egg, his floating alien bio-station for future analysis. For some reason they elected to keep this a secret from their boss.
Stronghammer debriefed the group and told them that metahumans were suspected of being involved. Black Amaranth used his web of contacts to get a clue – an NSA spook identified a potential suspect named Jihad, an Islamic fundamentalist who was last known to be in Iraq and who was known to have the power of charging people or objects with dangerously explosive energy. In exchange for the information Amaranth gave the spook an extra three years before his contract would be called in…
On secretly reviewing the footage on The Egg, Blue Sun and the others found that a middle-eastern looking boy of around 13 or 14 had escorted each of the glowing suicide bombers into the building from a flash of bright light before departing the same way. A teleporting metahuman? At the appointed time each of the bombers then mouthed the words “Insha’Allah” and exploded.
While they had been on the Egg reviewing the footage it turned out that a terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack on the Excelsior building; an organisation calling itself Metahuman Jihad. Their spokesman was the aforementioned Jihad and he was dressed in a mockery of Western superhero garb with a gold belt buckle with “Jihad” written on it in Arabic.
They met with Stronghammer very early the next morning and he agreed to send them to Iraq to try and find the Metahuman Jihad… but that this would have to be on the quiet. The Union would disavow all knowledge of them if they were caught in Iraq. He also told them that he suspected an ex-preacher turned Islamic convert alleged to have powers of super-persuasion of being involved.
Those who could easily disguise themselves immediately travelled via Warp to Iraq while the others remained behind to obtain burkas for disguise purposes Flashbang took a step forward and heard a ‘click!’; he’d just stepped on a mine!
Yes, the minefield was a compel.
Black Amaranth turned the sand beneath him and Flashbang into glass to try and prevent the mine from detonating and then Flashbang jumped high above the mines! Amaranth summoned demonic wings and flew up above the mine as well. The glass cracked and the mine detonated, but both escaped harm. Until Amaranth carelessly landed on a mine and got himself torn completely in half!
This was a compel on Amaranth’s “Doomed to die regularly and claw my way out of hell” aspect, primarily done so we could have the return from Hell at the beginning of the next session.
Meanwhile Blue Sun used his telepathy to track a brainwashed convert who was in Baghdad fetching supplies for the Metahuman Jihad and prepared to follow him to the Jihad’s lair…
Finally, Amaranth found himself in Hell in a lake of fire next to the demon he’d spurned earlier. To get out of the torture he’d earned earlier he challenged the demon to a riddle contest – and won! The demon planned to torture him anyway but was forced to uphold his end of the bargain by Lucifer himself. Lucifer and Amaranth had a polite chat about the magician’s future and then he was allowed to slip out of Hell by one of its back routes with the complicity of a guard.
At the end of the session the rest of the group had finished obtaining disguises and warped to join the others in Iraq.
Next, they meet the Metahuman Jihad face to face!
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